Thursday, December 21, 2006

"Since religion is often most influential where it is least obvious, it is imperative to examine both its manifest and latent dimensions."

MORE college students seem to be practicing traditional forms of religion today than at any time in my 30 years of teaching.

At first glance, the flourishing of religion on campuses seems to reverse trends long criticized by conservatives under the rubric of “political correctness.” But, in truth, something else is occurring. Once again, right and left have become mirror images of each other; religious correctness is simply the latest version of political correctness. Indeed, it seems the more religious students become, the less willing they are to engage in critical reflection about faith.

Distinguished scholars at several major universities in the United States have been condemned, even subjected to death threats, for proposing psychological, sociological or anthropological interpretations of religious texts in their classes and published writings. In the most egregious cases, defenders of the faith insist that only true believers are qualified to teach their religious tradition. (NYT)

Maybe my experience is uncommon, but I've had many discussions about religion in college classes that have been perfectly respectful, and to my knowledge they haven't led to demanded apologies from the professor. I also haven't seen any unwillingness to engage in critical thinking about faith. If anything, the college kids who are religious are more willing to think critically than their non-college attending peers.

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